Internal penetration testing is a type of security assessment that is conducted from inside an organization's network. It is designed to identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses in the network and its defenses, with the goal of helping the organization improve its security posture.
Who performance this test
This type of testing is typically performed by security professionals who have specialized knowledge and experience in the field of ethical hacking. The goal of internal penetration testing is to simulate a real-world attack on the organization's network, in order to uncover any potential vulnerabilities that could be exploited by a malicious hacker. By conducting regular internal penetration tests, organizations can identify and address potential security weaknesses before they can be exploited by attackers.
internal vs external penetration testing
There are two main approaches to penetration testing:
An internal penetration test is an assessment of the security of an organization's internal network. It is carried out from the perspective of an insider, from within the network. It is used to identify any potential weaknesses or security flaws that could be exploited by an attacker to gain access to confidential data or disrupt services.
An external penetration test is an assessment of the security of an organization's external facing systems, networks and websites. It is carried out from the perspective of an outsider, from outside the network. It is used to identify any potential weaknesses or security flaws that could be exploited by an attacker to gain access to confidential data or disrupt services.
Organizations need both internal and external penetration tests to ensure they have a comprehensive security assessment. Internal penetration testing helps identify vulnerabilities and misconfigurations from an insider's perspective, while external penetration testing can simulate real-world attack scenarios and identify potential weak points before an attacker can exploit them. You can see it more as a full simulation. Attackers would use the external network to gain access to the internal network. This can be done through various attacks like phishing but also taking over servers using (known) exploits and afterward using this access to attack the internal infrastructure.
An organization that is serious about security should perform both types of tests to ensure they have a comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of their security posture.
internal penetration testing methodology
During an internal network pentest, a security analyst will use a range of tools and techniques to assess the security of a network from within. This typically involves scanning the network for vulnerabilities, testing system configurations, attempting to gain access to systems without authorization, and attempting to escalate privileges where possible. Additionally, the analyst may attempt to gain access to sensitive data or compromise other systems on the network. The aim of the pentest is to identify any security weaknesses and potential threats to the network.
A penetration testing methodology is a set of guidelines and best practices that a penetration tester follows when conducting a pentest. The specific methodology used will depend on the goals of the pentest and the requirements of the organization. However, in general, an internal network pentest methodology might include the following steps:
- Planning and scope definition: The penetration tester works with the organization to define the scope of the pentest, including the specific systems and networks that will be tested, the goals of the pentest, and any constraints or limitations.
- Information gathering: The penetration tester gathers information about the target systems and networks, including IP addresses, network diagrams, and other relevant data.
- Vulnerability assessment: The penetration tester uses tools and techniques to identify known vulnerabilities in the target systems and networks.
- Exploitation: The penetration tester attempts to exploit the identified vulnerabilities to gain access to the target systems and networks.
- Post-exploitation: The penetration tester assesses the level of access gained and looks for ways to escalate privileges or move laterally within the network.
- Reporting: The penetration tester documents the findings and recommendations in a report to the organization.
Internal penetration testing tools
There are many tools that a penetration tester might use during an internal network pentest. A good penetration test will always involve manual labor as the penetration test should be tool-assisted, but not fully automated. Some common tools include port scanners, like Nmap, which are used to identify open ports on network devices, and vulnerability scanners, like Nessus and Nuclei, which are used to identify known vulnerabilities on network devices and in software. Other tools that might be used include network sniffers, which are used to capture network traffic for analysis, and password cracking tools, which are used to try to guess or crack passwords for network accounts. Ultimately, the specific tools that are used during an internal network pentest will depend on the specific needs of the organization and the goals of the pentest.
Specific internal penetration testing Software
Here are some tools that are commonly used during internal network pentests:
- Nmap: This is a popular port scanning tool that can be used to identify open ports on network devices.
- Nessus: This is a vulnerability scanning tool that can be used to identify known vulnerabilities on network devices and in software.
- Wireshark: This is a network sniffing tool that can be used to capture and analyze network traffic.
- Hydra: This is a password-cracking tool that can be used to try to guess or crack passwords for network accounts.
- Metasploit: This is an exploitation framework that can be used to exploit identified vulnerabilities to gain access to target systems and networks.
- Mimikatz: This is a tool that can be used to try to escalate privileges on a target system once access has been gained.
- Psexec: This is a tool that can be used to move laterally within a network once access has been gained to one system.
Internal penetration test in the Netherlands
If you are interested in learning more about getting an internal network pentest done, please contact me. I have extensive experience in conducting internal network pentests and can provide you with the information and guidance you need to ensure that your organization's internal network is secure. Don't wait until it's too late - contact me today to learn more about how an internal network pentest can benefit your organization.